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Portia MacIntosh: My Christmas Traditions


Christmas traditions play a huge part in my new novel, Stuck On You, and it was so much fun reading about them all while I was doing my research for the book.

From La Befana (the witch who brings children their presents in Italy) to the Yule Cat (the vicious creature in Icelandic folklore who eats people at Christmas), I learned so much about different traditions around the word (and apparently mostly loved the dark ones).

This got me thinking about my own Christmas traditions, and while they’re not nearly as interesting, and thankfully nowhere near as dark, I thought I’d give you a glimpse into what Christmas is like in the MacIntosh household by sharing with you some of the things we do every year without fail.

It’s a wonderful night!

On one night in the few days before Christmas we’ll clear a big space in the living room and set up to and area to wrap presents. We’re always shopping, right up until Christmas Eve, because my fiancé and I both have zero chill when it comes to buying presents for people. Our present wrapping sessions always take place while we watch It’s a Wonderful Life – my absolute favourite Christmas film. It might be a cliché choice but it’s an easy winner. From the lump in my throat to the smile on my face, it’s always just what I need to make sure I’m in the Christmas spirit.

Let them eat everything

Christmas is about a lot of things but it’s pretty much a season of eating for many of those who celebrate it. Call it bulking up for the winter or just going so hard that your New Year’s resolution to stop eating chocolate for breakfast seems like a piece of cake (oh, God, no more cake!) but it’s a tradition we’re totally here for. I will never be too old for an advent calendar. We also like to eat panettone (we’re a part Italian household so we pretty much get like ten of them given to us at the start of December) and in the run up to Christmas one of my favourite restaurants does this kind of chaotic Christmas dish where they pile up fries topped with turkey, stuffing, pigs in blankets, cranberry sauce and gravy, which I absolutely love.

The selfie bauble

Yep, I’m of the selfie generation where everything is a photo op if it’s shiny enough. My fiancé and I have always decorated our tree together and one of the first decorations we bought was this big, mirrored bauble. Any time we took photos of the tree it was like it had this mirror hanging from it so we just started using it to take an annual selfie. I love that type of tradition, that just sort of comes about accidentally. It’s only a cheap bauble but it means so much to me because we’ve been doing it for years now. It’s amazing, to see how we change, and how the room changes, from year to year. It’s really beautiful way to see the passage of time – I hope we keep doing it for years to come.

Destination decorations

Speaking of decorating our Christmas tree, we’ve spent years amassing decorations from all over the world – either ones we’ve picked up on our travels or ones that people have brought us back from their holidays because they know we love them. The idea is to have a tree decorated only with items that really meant something to us, so we’ve slowly phased out our filler decorations with special ones. From Scotland to Iceland to San Francisco to Dubai – our tree reaches far and wide.

Festive favourites

When you watch a TV show – especially a sitcom – you will often find Christmas episodes popping up, usually once a season. One of our favourite things to do is binge watch all of our favourite festive episodes from shows like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Office, 30 Rock and Curb Your Enthusiasm. There’s just something so amazing about Christmas episodes. I could watch them all year round but we save re-watching them until December for full festive effect.


Portia’s latest novel, Stuck On You is available in ebook, audiobook and paperback now!

Click on the cover below for more details.

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